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 THE PIONEER YEARS 1922-1950



This page is dedicated to the pioneer years of Vancouver & Victoria radio from 1922 to the launch of CKDA on Jan. 18, 1950. 


Photo 1:
The CNRV Players, a Vancouver group that presented some of Canada's earliest radiodrama, from a 1929 publicity photograph. 

Photo 2: This rather futuristically posed photograph was taken in the control room of CKFC in the Vancouver Stock Exchange Building, ca. 1937.  From left to right, the staff members shown are Gordon Hodgson, Jeff Davis, Laurie Irvine and Earl Beresford.

Photo 3: The musicians in this 1942 photo are Ray Norris (guitar), Chuck Barbour (trumpet), Curly Kemp (accordion); Sonny Richardson (violin.)  The pianist is unidentified.  Announcer Laurie Irvine used the surname "Irving" on the air.

Photo 4: A giant radio receiver was displayed in Vancouver's Victory Square in December 1931 to promote radio sales.

Photo 5: This is The Daily Province Merchants Exchange radiophone sending set which broadcasts news and music each night to all points in British Columbia.  The set work on a 2000-metre wave-length and cost $7000 to install.  High River, Alberta 800 miles away and with mountain barriers intervening, has picked up messages from this apparaatus.  Mr. W. Tricker is the operator who sends forth the news. 

Photo 6: By the time this photo was taken in 1926, First Congregational Church in Vancouver's West End had become Central Presbyterian.  The Church housed, in turn, two of Vancouver's earliest radio stations--CFYC and CKFC.  The building was demolished in 1977.

Photo 7: Cyril Trott with the broadcasting equipment of CKFC at Central Presbyterian Church in 1925.  Trott later moved the radio station to Chalmer's United Church at 12th & Hemlock.

Photo 8: Arthur "Spark" Holstead poses with the original CFDC transmitter in this 1944 publicity photo.  Holstead started CFDC in Nanaimo in 1923 and later moved it to Vancouver, where it became CKWX.

Photo 9:
CKNW: Bill Rea and the Rhythm Pals welcomed the Sons of the Pioneers.

Photo 10: The CKNW Trio performed live on Ranger's Cabin.

Photo 11: Esther and Alan Roughton were featured in the domestic situation comedy "Mr. and Mrs." on CRCV in the mid-1930s.

Photo 12: Bill Fox (left) as 'Barometer Bill' with Bill Hughes, 1948.

Photo 13: Ira Dilworth directed the CBC's operations in British Columbia from 1938-46.

Photo 14: The control room of CBR's studio C during a B.C. Schools Broadcast in the early 40s.  From left to right: Director of Schools Broadcast Kenneth Caple; unidentified; technical operator Don Horne and producer Roy Dunlop.

Photo 15: It was not unusual for radio stations to have their own orchestras.  The CKFC Concert Ensemble (ca. 1937) was comprised of students from the Beresford School of Music.  Mr. L Beresford, Sr. (standing far left) owned the school.  His son, Earl (in front of the door) was part-owner of CKFC.  The four men standing to the right of the door are CKFC staffers Jeff Davis, Laurie Irvine, Gordon Hodgson and Frank Rutland.  The "SBS" on the microphone refers to the Standard Broadcasting System, which operated CKFC.

Photo 16: Fred Bass was staff pianist and music director at CKWX for many years.

Photo 17: Announcer Don McKim and technicican Glen Robitaille marshal their energies for a broadcast from Vancouver's Athletic Park.

Photo 18: Children's programs emphasizing safety were popular in the 1930's and 1940's.  Allan Klenman (standing) was the studio technician for this broadcast of "The Crime Safety Show" from CKWX's main studio ca. 1941.

Photo 19: Operator Jack Hughes in one of CKWX's control rooms, ca. 1941.  The equipment shown is "state of the art" for the time.  CKWX was among the first stations to separate the roles of announcer and operator for all programming.  The announcer would speak from a separate booth while the operator played the records and controlled the volume. 

Photo 20: Bill Tutte (left) and Ian Arrol at work in the CKWX newsroom, 1944. 

Photo 21: A skit in rehearsal at CKWX during World War II.  Left to right: Larry McCance, Peggy---, Fred Bass, Barney Potts and Bob Hutton.

Photo 22: The Programme Director, Rudy Hartman, checks over a schedule.  His job is to build up programmes and see that they are carried out. 1942.

Photo 23: CJVI's Special Events Department in Action in a Lacrosse Game Broadcast.  From the left: Cyril Beard, Studio Engineer, Dick Batey and Les Halberg, Announcers. 1942.

Photo 24: N.V. Chesnut, manager at CJVI, outlines a program for the program director. 1942.

Photo 25: In the control room, Verne Groves, announcer, monitors a program. 1942.

Photo 26: A corner of the Studio, with the control room in the background, visible through a glass partition.  Al Smith, pianist,  with Bill Willett, announcer at the mike. 1942.

Photo 27:
Cliff Deaville, announcer at CFCT in 1929.

Photo 28:
CKMO's Don Wilson draws news of the world from three teletype services. 1947.

Photo 29:
CNRV's studio was housed in the Vancouver CPR depot.  The ceiling is hung with sound-absorbing material.

Photo 30:
Esther and Alan Roughton were featured in the domestic situation comedy "Mr. and Mrs." on CRCV in the 1930s.

Photo 31:
Announcer Bill herbert recording a program "in the field" with technician Clayton Wilson in the 40s.  Herbert's commentary is being recorded on a Model Y disk recorder.  Wilson is ensuring that the strands of the cut acetate do not foul the cutting stylus.

Photo 32:
During a drama rehearsal in CBR's studio A, actor-writer Fletcher Markle (left), confers with CBC producer Andrew Allan. In the background are cast members Al Pearace, Claire Murray, Peggy Hazard and Kathy Graham.  The play in production is probably from the series "Baker's Dozen" written by Markle and broadcast in 1941 & 1942.

Photo 33:
One of Canada's most popular radio programs.  Two million Canadians tuned into the "Happy Gang" at the height of its popularity.  (Keep in mind that in 2005, 2 million people watch "Hockey Night in Canada" and our population has risen more than 2.5 times.)  The original Gangsters are from L-R: trumpeter Don Farnon, organist Kathleen Stokes, violinist Blaine Mathe, and leader and pianist Bert Pearl.

Photo 34: On Nov. 3, 1936, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation officially came into being.  Here is the first night's programming from CRCV Vancouver:


Added Feb. 8/10: photos 35-38.

Photo 35: Don Pedro's Orchestra and Earl Hill's Dance Band play for a radio auction on CJOR on Dec. 11, 1933 in aid of the Sun's Santa Claus Fund.

Photo 36: Three local radio stations participated in the Radio Gala from Nov. 8-11, 1933.  These programs were sponsored by radio shops to sell radios so that this new medium could used to entertain people at home.

Photo 37: CJOR, CJVI and CHWK formed part of the CBC Dominion Network.  This is a poster promoting the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's "Pops Concert" series in 1947.

Photo 38: CJOR, CKWX and CKMO participated in a "Red Cross" fundraiser on March 2, 1947.


From the Province March 14, 1922: Broadcasting a budget of news and several musical selections a radiophone service was inaugurated by The Province on Monday night. More . . .

From the Vancouver Sun   SUN TO INSTALL WIRELESS SERVICE: The Vancouver Sun is completing arrangements for the installation of a free wireless and radiophone service for the people of British Columbia.  More . . .

A review of the first night's broadcast:
SUN RADIO TELEPHONE BROADCASTS MUSICAL NUMBERS AND NEWS


Latest news reports and a musical programme were broadcasted over The Sun's radiophone last night.  The news service consisted of a digest of world happenings, while the musical programme included some of the latest and best known selections.  Two world news bulletins were spoken slowly to order to be audible to all operators.  There will be another program tonight.  Staring at 8:00 The Sun's radiophone will broadcast a summary of the latest local and world happenings in the form of news bulletins.  From 8:30 until 9:30 there will be a musical programme of selected numbers.  The Sun's radiophone has been in operation for several days, since the announcement of the inception of the service by this paper over a week ago.  It has been in communication with Seattle, and as far south as San Francisco. 
    Announcements of programmes which will be broadcast over the Sun's radiophone will be made daily.

WORLD'S RADIO STATION READY TO BROADCAST AT 2 PM TOMORROW
From Vancouver's World Newspaper March 22/1922

    The World's radio broadcasting station is being erected today and will be tested out tonight on a 360-metre wave length.  A regular programme is announced for tomorrow commencing at 2 pm.  The present 360-metre broadcast is a temporary one.  Announcement will be made in a day or two in regard to a fixed wave length.  Electrical radio engineers are at present testing out and installing the new broadcasting equipment and will determine after a few experiments the most suitable wave length to use here in conjunction with the various sizes of receiving sets suppled by the Trans-Canada Radiovox Co. Ltd. 

The programme arranged for The World's radio broadcast tomorrow, on a 360-metre wave length is as follows:

An article from the Vancouver Daily World from March 23, 1922, the day their radio station launched. After strenuous effort and a night of the most thorough tests The World begins its broadcasting service today from its high-power radio station on the Spencer Building.  More . . .